Real estate rules. But have I ever told you my story, why I am so obsessed with real estate and why I blog? It goes like this: I was a journalist, a magazine journalist, who covered real estate as a journalistic beat, then got hooked. I realized that blogging about homes and featuring them on the web is really the only and best way to market homes.  If you disagree, I want to know. And I may challenge you to an ad dual. Agents in Silicon Valley don’t even bother with print any more: 89% of buyers search for homes on line, and internet buyers’ incomes are 25% higher than traditional print buyers. By the time a certain listing is printed, that home may have a price change or even be sold, if anyone ever reads it. In fact, the homes we feature are selling sell and when we write about a home, the open houses are overflowing. This one sold four days after our posting.  From a reader in Plano:

Candy, Just thought you’d like to know the impact of your article on our house. The weekend after it ran, we were inundated with showings – I think we had 12 total. Last weekend, after the buzz from your article died down, 2 total showings!

I cannot thank you enough for the article, hopefully someone will like it enough to put a bid in. –Thad

I believe residential real estate should completely migrate to the web, and that blogs are one of the best, most efficient ways to deliver real time information and promote transparency. On CandysDirt, we focus primarily on residential real estate in Dallas and increasingly, North Texas. I founded CandysDirt.com as a hyper local real estate blog to take off where DallasDirt left off. I created SecondShelters.com for the growing (and struggling) second home community niche. My heart was proud the other day when I posted a listing and the community told us that when an agent showed it, it smelled of smoke. We want the truth about these homes — price and condition! Ultimately, I want to add more transparency to the buying process, help consumers find the very best homes and deals, and obtain the very best value out of their real estate investments.

At 9:00 am Monday morning, October 24, Ellen Terry agents will gather at their Luther Lane/Preston Center offices with a whole lot of company: the 175 agents of Dave Perry-Miller and Associates. Your’s truly will be there, too, live blogging for you. We will learn that the Ellen Terry Realtors, Inc. luxury boutique division of Ebby Halliday, has been merged/folded into Dave Perry-Miller and Associates. That means all Ellen Terry Realtor signs will now be replaced with Dave Perry-Miller signs. Ellen and her closest staff will continue as a boutique group within the Dave Perry-Miller name. And the agents merged/folded into Dave Perry-Miller will office at the same location, those Ellen Terry offices becoming, I guess, Dave Perry-Miller offices.

The move, which had been under wraps for several weeks, goes official Monday. What’s very interesting and almost full-circle about this is that Dave actually got his start in Real Estate with Ellen Terry, his very first job as a starving young agent back in the 1980’s.

“I once had to leave my watch at the gas station to pay for my gas,” Dave has told me.

The Ebby Halliday Family of Companies , which consists of Ebby Halliday REALTORS ® and Dave Perry-Miller & Associates — is the largest independently owned residential real estate company in Texas and ranks 10th in the nation. It was founded by company figurehead Ebby Halliday, who is 100 years old, still active in company activities, and one of the most respected figures in residential real estate in the nation.

The 66-year-old company has more than 1,500 sales associates and staff in 30 offices, and sales volune exceeded $3.5 billion in 2010. As Ebby herself will tell you, the company sells more million dollar homes than any other. Ebby Halliday acquired Dave Perry-Miller & Associates in 2007, and he runs the division bearing his name as well as sells real estate. I will never forget hearing stories of how Ebby courted Dave back then, and how one time they had to wrap up an entire lunch picnic-style in a tablecloth, toss it in the back of Dave’s four year old Jaguar, and leave a listing because agents were on their way to show a home where they were trying to do “bidness”. Ebby opened Home Team Insurance in 2003, Home Team Mortgage Company in 1996 and acquired Ellen Terry, REALTORS in 1995. You just cannot keep her still!

OK, now we’ve got the press release-y official stuff down and out of the way. So, WTF?

Basically from what I’m hearing, this is a strategic move to help Ebby zero in on luxury market share not just south of LBJ, but everywhere. Here’s what Dave told me: “By putting the two brands together, it gives us number one market share across the board in the luxury market of Dallas.”

Dallas is a mighty competitive luxury real estate market, loaded with great agents, all vying for that sweet piece of pie known as Park Cities/Preston Hollow (and increasingly, Uptown, East Dallas) where sales are still happening and multi-million ideals are nowhere near dead. A handful of companies vie for the attention of those juicy multi-million dollar homeowners eager to sell — or buy. I suspect that Ebby wants to focus marketing dollars on ONE luxury brand, not two, in order to better compete with Allie Beth, Mathews-Nichols,  Briggs Freeman Sothebys, Keller Williams Elite and Virginia Cook who recently acquired David Griffin. At Forecast 12 last week, MetroTex speakers told us where the top ten foreclosure zip codes are in North Texas. NOT ONE is south of LBJ.  

Ellen Terry has been selling real estate for a long time in Dallas, and at one point single handedly had a strong hold on the luxury home market. She even once taught PE at The Hockaday School. Legend has it she bootstrapped her way to her incredible success when her family fortunes took a turn for the worse. She has closed in excess of $530 million in sales volume representing 158 multimillion-dollar properties ranging from $1 million to $22 million, that number being when she sold the Richard and Jinger Heath (BeautiControl) mansion on Park Lane which is now owned by Scott Gindberg, on the market for lot value after a fire. Here she is with friend Ann Lardner who visited her in Carmel this summer, both attending Concours D’Elegance in Pebble Beach, where they stopped by my SecondShelters.com booth. 

I know this is a happy occasion, but I feel really sorry for Tucker, Dave’s dog. He’s a dog with a job and now his job is going to be harder than ever as he fetches contracts for even more offices and agents! Well, I guess that’s what happens when a dog has to earn his kibble!